This is Marc here. I hope you’ll put up with my slight venting/ranting. I need that release.
I’ve recently started to work in an office again. That’s right: at the moment I’m not a full time work-from-home person.
I won’t get into the specifics of why I decided to become a full time employee again – but it mostly boils down to wanting to try a new environment, and wanting some personal growth.
I haven’t worked in a office environment full time for more than 10 years, so it took some getting used to. I had to train my body and mind again to get used to not working from home.
Not being able to work from home gave me a new perspective of the pros and cons of working from home. I see the benefits of working in a dynamic office with colleagues, but it also made me appreciate the times I was able to work from home.
The things I miss most about working from home
Let’s start with the advantages of working from home.
#1 No travel
Oh my G.
The daily commute is something I absolutely abhor about the working life. It takes me 3 buses, and up to 75 minutes of traveling to get to work.
The morning commute isn’t so bad. I’m always able to get a seat, and the journey is relatively peaceful. I often listen to chill music on Spotify, or some basketball/business podcast.
The after-work commute is what kills me. There’s rarely a seat available to rest my already tired body, and the packing and squeezing kills. The trip back home usually takes a little longer, and I believe – as an introvert – the bus home causes the most mental fatigue.
Draining. The travel is absolutely draining.
Working from home means I don’t have to commute daily. That’s at least 150 minutes a day saved, and spent elsewhere more productive.
#2 Comfortable workspace
When I first started working at the new job, my first week left me with plenty of aches and pains. My eyes were strained everyday.
I realised that my body was accustomed to the comfortable ergonomic arrangement at home. An ergonomic setup that I had tweaked over the years for maximum comfort.
In the new job I was given an office chair that was old and wobbly. It didn’t have a head rest. It didn’t have back support, and it leaned back far too much.
My table is now a office table that is far too high. It is at a height that even with my chair at peak height, my arms are still not in an optimal position. This causes a lot of shoulder, neck, and forearm pain.
One major problem I have in this new office is how much sunlight and glare that it allows in. The office is surrounded by modern full height glass windows that let in too much sunlight.
The sun is directly in my eyes, and though I’ve tried blocking off some of the rays, it still leaves me with bad eye strain everyday.
I miss my home office. With my computer table at an acceptable height, my comfortable office chair, and screen with close to no glare.
#3 I can control my environment and music
Actually, it’s not only the workspace that I miss. It’s the control of my environment.
Like how at home, I put up boards to cover parts of the window that was leaking sunlight directly into my vision.
At home, I can choose the music that I like, without needing to ‘share’ the Spotify playlist with anyone else. OR when I needed silence, I can easily do so.
I just don’t have that freedom in the office.
Worse, my office sometimes has 2 sources of music playing, with multiple people having discussions and calls. It’s not an ideal situation for me, and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.
I miss being able to find peace in playing a Final Fantasy playlist by myself at home.
#4 No lingering presence of a boss
I think this is more of a drawback of becoming an employee again – and less of the cons of working in an office.
When I was my own boss and working at home, I never had the pressures of knowing there was somebody possibly judging my performance in real time, or monitoring my actions.
I’m lucky in that I actually get a lot of autonomy, and my boss is quite chill.
However, no matter how ‘chill’ you think your boss is, he still controls your fate. There’s always this lingering feeling of being assessed – whether it’s just my imagination or not.
#5 Less interruptions
My boss has this habit of shouting out from his office whenever he needs one of us for a quick question or to look at something on his computer screen.
You can see how annoying this can get if it happens often, or when you are deep in concentration over a task.
Other forms of interruptions also come in the form of small talk, video calls, phone calls, and “hey, quick question..s”.
This is definitely part and parcel of working in an office, and most people would think what the big deal is.
Coming from someone who has worked alone for most of his career, that was quite a thing that I had to get used to.
#6 Taking breaks are more comfortable, and less stressful about being judged. And NAPS. I miss naps!
I’m someone who has to take short breaks often. Between my easily strained eyes and constantly aching shoulders, I need to chill every now and then.
I often like to walk around while being deep in thought. It helps me stay active so I’m not always in a sedentary sitting position for long periods of time.
When I take breaks, I can lie down on my sofa at home, or even lie in bed for a short while. I don’t have that luxury in the office.
Don’t get me started on naps. I don’t nap all the time, but it definitely helps when I get extra tired. A 15 minute power nap on my sofa does wonders to my concentration and helps reduce my mental fatigue.
I miss that I’m able to do these anytime I want. There are times when I’m super tired in the office, and a nap would be the exact remedy.
But I can’t (and rather not). I either have to down another cup of coffee and hope it works, or I just try to trudge on like a zombie.
#7 Having the freedom and energy to exercise
When working from home, I can choose to stop work at any time and just sneak in a workout. Regular exercise is 1 of the important rules for successful work-from-home lifestyle.
If I’m feeling tuned out from the mental fatigue, or if my body just doesn’t feel like sitting any longer, I can just go for a run anytime I want to.
Ever start or end work with a swim? OR, pair a midday swim with a nice nap afterwards? PRICELESS.
Nowadays, I feel so tired after work that I tend to neglect my exercise. It’s also that much harder to coordinate the right time to run with my regular jogging buddy.
#8 Using the toilet at home
Is there anywhere else anyone prefers to go?
Home is where the heart is, and where you feel most comfortable taking a poop.
At work, I’m sometimes slightly self conscious about the number of times I go to the toilet. “Why does he poop so much?”
Whether it’s the feeling of peace, cleanliness, and comfort, nothing beats the toilet at home.
Unless you are talking about this toilet.
Looking On the bright side
On a more positive note, I’ll still be able to work from home when I come home in the evenings. I still work from home on the weekends.
Working in this new job also has its advantages; I’m relishing this new experience and my growth opportunities. And really, I’m just nitpicking on some first world problems.
Ultimately, it’s up to me to make the best of any situation I am dealt with.
Hopefully I’ll be able to improve the workspace in the office so I don’t need to miss home as much.